As promised, today we have real stories from the new business groups in Kenya. These groups are truly modeling the spirit of SIA. They are eagerly trying new things, realizing the benefits of their hard work, and paying-it-forward to help others in need.
‘We Build Ourselves’
Josephine works with high-quality basket materials.
Josephine and her two daughters, Martha & Dorcas, started a basket-making business called the Tujijenge group, which means we build ourselves. The small investment from the SIA grant has already begun to positively impact the lives of Josephine and all her family members:
“This project has lifted me and my family members. I am a mother of 8 and have 12 grandchildren who depend on me. Before, we were using the raw basket material, which is cheap and does not fetch a lot in the market because it’s of low quality. After we got our first grant of $100, we were able to change the material and get the latest supplies in the market, which are more fashionable and sell quickly.
“For the first time after 4 years, I could afford to pay bus fare for some of my children to travel to the village to see my mother and ailing father. I made my mother a gift of a beautiful basket using the latest raw materials. Now I get calls from the village to make someone a basket like my mother’s. This was also a way of advertising for our business!
“We also took a sample to Village Market (this is an up-market shopping mall in the city). When we can, we will register with the City Council so we can sell easily.
“We can afford at least two meals in a day now and the children look healthier. I have a lot of peace in me because I can even afford to give someone Ksh 20 ($0.25) and I am able to share with others.”
Members of the new Kenyan businesses meet together. Wambui, the SIA SBF local coordinator, is in the front row in jeans.
‘God Will Group’
For Judith and her family, the SIA grant made it possible for them to stay and work together. They invested to expand their roadside vegetable market:
“For us things are stable now. The children can now go to school and we can afford to buy books.
“Before the small business fund came in, each morning we could go on different ways to look for casual work to at least have a day’s meal. My husband went to the village to see how he could get a job to support us. He came to visit us and was happy to see our business is picking up. He will now come to live with us.”
What we learn from stories
We know the importance of collecting data and numbers about the success of our Small Business Fund. But these two stories perfectly illustrate the importance of also collecting stories. For these families the impact of the grant is more than just earning more money; its also about families staying together and finally having enough to be able to share with others.
It is from the stories that we get to witness the many ways that our small grants directly impact families around the world.